Update for Pokémon Go Adjusts Account Permissions, No Longer Requires Full Access
I'd call them bug fixes but that makes my Caterpie nervous.
A lot of people voiced their concerns about Pokémon Go‘s intrusive permissions requests which, if granted, would allow Niantic to access every bit of your Google identity. In an update released today for the iOS version of the application, Niantic has changed the permissions requests, and the game now only asks to view your basic data and your e-mail address. Players wishing to take advantage of the less invasive permissions have to uninstall the application, revoke the original application’s permissions on your Google account page, then install the updated app from the App Store. Unfortunately, Android users are plum out of luck for now, as this update and change is only being implemented for iOS users.
Originally the permissions granted to Pokémon Go allowed it full access to your Google account (provided that’s what you signed up with, and not the Pokémon Trainer Club). This means it not only had access to your basic information, but it could see your e-mails, write e-mails as you, basically everything you’d normally be able to do with your Google account.
Many folks’ concerns go beyond Google account access. Considering the fact that Pokémon Go is a game that literally tracks your movements and requires you to essentially “check in” to places to accomplish goals, it allows Niantic (whose former owner is Google) to track your location. To be fair, this isn’t a particularly new thing amongst apps; Facebook has been tracking people’s locations for a long time now, and back when Foursquare/Swarm were big, people voluntarily gave up their location information on a daily basis. The data we’re handing over to tech companies can indeed be worrying when you think about it all at once like that. Do I think that Niantic and Google are logging data for super nefarious things? No, not really. But that doesn’t change the fact that I still find the idea kind of squicky and shy away from things like that from time to time.
That being said, I can still fully enjoy a game like this while still being critical of its abilities and what it can see.
Anyway, if you were particularly concerned about the security of your Google account (which I do go out of my way to protect), then you can perhaps rest a little bit easier with this update.
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